Coming soon to the Adobe Books Backroom Gallery:
The Ant and the Mushroom: a Parable
December 5, 2013 – January 4, 2014
Opening reception: Thursday, December 5, 6-9pm
The Cyborgesses (Stephanie Mansolf and Jen Ontiveros)
Curated by Katie Hood Morgan
In the tropical forests of Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, the devastating effects can be observed. Entire colonies have been known to be decimated by the disease. The infected carpenter ant climbs down from the safety of the canopy, finds a northern-facing plant 25 cm from the ground, latches its mandibles to the central vein of the underside of a large leaf, and waits to die. In time, a dark fungal stalk will emerge from the back of its neck and release spores, helping to propagate the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus over great distances. The zombified ant’s purpose fulfilled, the shell of its body may cling there for a time before he crumbles into nothing.
Humans imagine that they exist at the very top of a complex hierarchy of plant and animal life. We are blissfully ignorant of (or rail futilely against) the forces of nature acting on us both internally and externally. The artists here choose to relinquish this control and instead dig deep into the unknown–the edges of our knowledge, where biology meets imagination. They embrace the fungus among us.
Stephanie Rohlfs grafts cacti with distant cousins and neighbors to create familiar yet unnatural forms.
The Cyborgesses encourage a strange and colorful garden to grow. Forms both organic and fantastic creep beyond the gallery walls.
Hanhan Zhang’s sensual ceramic flowers sprout from the walls, extending tentacles or maybe sexual organs towards the visitor.
Amber Stucke creates highly detailed scientific drawings which layer imagined forms with a close analysis of symbiotic organisms such as lichen and algae. She offers paper dusted with wild mushroom spores for viewers to take away.
Anthropochory is the scientific term for dispersal of plant matter by humans. Please take one. Be our host.
Adobe Books & Arts Cooperative, 3130 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Image: Stephanie Rohlfs, A Few Small Improvements (detail), 2013